How to cultivate good self esteem?

Discussion in 'Psychological & social' started by jazzyj9, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. jazzyj9

    jazzyj9 Titanium Member Donating Member

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    Low self-esteem is something I struggle with, and people pleasing too. I think this is an issue that many people with past addictions or present addictions have faced.

    To those of you who have struggled with low self-esteem and caring too much what other people think of you, how have you overcome this? What was your process and or practice?

    I know tiny steps and good habits can lead to change, any recommendations on this process, the process of building good self-esteem and self-care? How to stop giving so many fucks about what others think and instead start becoming the person I respect and that being enough?
     
  2. WashedCNDL

    WashedCNDL Titanium Member

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    Loving-Kindness Meditation aka Metta has been documented to help improve self-esteem.

    "Loving kindness is a mindfulness practice designed to increase love and compassion first for ourselves and then for our loved ones, for friends, for those we are angry with, for difficult people, for enemies, and then for all beings. Loving kindness can protect us from developing and holding on to judgmentalness, ill will, and hostile feelings toward ourselves and others"
    1. Choose a person to send loving kindness toward. Do not select a person you do not want to relate to with kindness and compassion. Start with yourself, or, if this is too difficult, with a person you already love.
    2. Sitting, standing, or lying down, begin by breathing slowly and deeply. Opening the palms of your hands, gently bring the person to mind.
    3. Radiate loving kindness by reciting a set of warm wishes, such as “May I be happy,” “May I be at peace,” “May I be healthy,” “May I be safe,” or another set of positive wishes of your own. Repeat the script slowly, and focus on the meaning of each word as you say it in your mind. (If you have distracting thoughts, just notice them as they come and go and gently bring your mind back to your script.) Continue until you feel yourself immersed in loving kindness.
    4. Gradually work yourself up through loved ones, friends, those you are angry with, difficult people, enemies, and finally all beings. For example, use a script such as “May John be happy,” “May John be at peace,” and so on (or “John, may you be happy,” “May you be at peace,” and so on), as you concentrate on radiating loving kindness to John.
    5. Practice each day, starting with yourself and then moving to others.
     
  3. curious_38

    curious_38 The Wizard of the Creek Silver Member Supporter

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    That certainly is a problem for a lot of us here. I'd venture to guess that a great majority of us have varying degrees of self esteem and self image difficulties. The ones that don't have this problem here are bots.

    Confidence and good self esteem go hand and hand. This is a great community here on this forum for community, friendship, and comradery. Members here find wonderful friendships that help with self esteem. That said, real live friendships with people in communities that you can see, touch and smell are boundlessly more successful in creating day to day confidence. Some may feel confident and have high self esteem and image when they are on this forum or other social media forums and when they are logged of the site be crippled with low self esteem. Although this is a great place to feel welcomed, wanted and appreciated, it does not necessarily translate to healthy self esteem in the real world.

    Real life personal connections are the greatest way to true actual healthy self esteem and image, and lead to genuine confidence.

    Great question @jazzyj9!
     
  4. jazzyj9

    jazzyj9 Titanium Member Donating Member

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    I like the idea of meditation very much. I agree friendships are important for self-esteem and yet I feel like it's hard for me to share my real self with others. I don't feel comfortable with vulnerability yet. I know that is necessary and I'm getting better, but I thought someone might have more ideas about practical ways to do this?
     
  5. curious_38

    curious_38 The Wizard of the Creek Silver Member Supporter

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    Do you have anyone who you are vulnerable with? Close friends? A partner? Is there anyone that you can be your real self with? Has there been one? If there has been someone in the past you could be your real self with than you know it is possible. Those people do exist.

    You could always go out and pay someone to be your real self, like a therapist or psychologist. Just a thought there.
     
  6. Calliope

    Calliope Fictional Member Gold Member Sponsor

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    from a nutshell, an infinite space
    I think it might be useful to think about how self-esteem comes from positive experiences in which you have a goal and achieve it. The goals don't even have to be big or ultimately hugely important, it is possibly a strange thing about us humans but how we feel generally and about ourselves seems to arise out of successes. If that is right then I think it might be helpful to you to figure out ways to have positive experiences and successes, perhaps related to interacting with other people if that seems like an area where you need extra reinforcement. Even small goals achieved contribute to our positive self-image. Take some tasks you have to do each day or week, break them down into sub-tasks and keep a written record of having done them. Sounds too simple maybe? Well it isn't gonna fix everything, but having a concrete thing like that and repeatedly doing it, making the list and checking things off, that kind of symbolic activity actually does have positive affects on how we feel about ourselves. At this stage if I have an accurate read on your position, I don't necessarily think you need to be making yourself vulnerable in any significant way before you have built a bit more positivity in your view of yourself and thereby gained more resilience to get through the inevitable brushes with negativity that come at us from other people (often simply because they are having a shitty time or are themselves unable to feel good and confident enough they don't fall into being aggressive or unpleasant to those around them). But that isn't yet practical advice really about stuff with other people. That comes next:

    One way to approach this is to try to create situations where you are engaged in activities you either enjoy and/or care about and are with others who also enjoy and/or care about that thing. This can be some form of volunteer work, or joining some kind of club or athletic activity or going to some kind of event you like. I cant really give you real specifics because it depends on what you actually care about and/or enjoy. But if there are such things then starting doing them, in the company of others and contributing or just enjoying yourself is going to make you feel better about yourself, others and how you relate to others. The being open and vulnerable can develop out of that sort of thing.
     
  7. JaneGault

    JaneGault Seeking Shelter from the Norm Silver Member Donating Member

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    Mentor someone or a group. I know you have a medical background. Volunteer to train a scout or school group in CPR (or something). Set yourself up in a position of authority and knowledge and share your training.

    Smoking cessation classes, diet and nutrition seminars, whatever you feel comfortable and confident in teaching. Start with children if you are uncomfortable with adults. I think you will find an endeavor of this sort rewarding and it will build confidence and self esteem.

    You go girl, Jane

    Calli and I cross posted, but we are on the same page :)
     
  8. jazzyj9

    jazzyj9 Titanium Member Donating Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions I appreciate the time you took to respond.
     
  9. BethleftRich

    BethleftRich Newbie

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    Hi Jazzy, self esteem is what I will work on when I get the appointment for my counselor. I cant wait, 5 years in a toxic relationship took a toll on me. Had I had better self esteem, I would not have stayed as long as I did. Too many times I have looked at only Rich's outrageous behavior, but never stopped to look at my own behavior toward myself. Kept telling myself to hang on, but he never changed, and I still hung on until I couldn't take it anymore. Yeah, self esteem has been an issue for me in my life, if I had better self esteem, I wouldn't be making as many mistakes. Have a great day Jazzy! Good you mentioned self esteem, now I remind myself too!
     
  10. SirDabathin

    SirDabathin Silver Member

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    One of the thoughts that I keep on my mind whenever I am at work, school, or in public; is that if you are in a skin bag you got problems. Just as while you are thinking that someone is analyzing you like you're a Victoria's Secret model, this person probably has loads of other things on their mind.

    I have ADHD and can be very compulsive at times, these types of dysfunctions within my psyche would definitely draw unwanted attention from others. One way I counteract this is by meditating for unprecedented amounts of time, sometimes I put on binaural beats for sound in the ambiance of my session room. Also carrying things out with the dao in mind is very key for positive reinforcement for the actions you perform in life. The dao is doing things slowly and with meaning, to take action with a sense of purpose. It also holds strongly characteristics like simplicity, frugality, and humility being one of the most highly coveted aspects of my personality. Ever since I started practicing taoism nothing but coincidences, good fortune, and prosperity has entered my life.

    Carl Jung goes on to describe different ways of handling a simple social situation. Let us say you are on a busy new york street and you need some directions to this restaurant that you would like feast at. You walk up to a stranger and directly ask for the directions, the stranger gives you the directions but does not seem to be in the mood to talk to you. The next time you ask a stranger you mention something about your day, maybe give them a compliment, really you can experiment with anything in order to attract the person's attention in a positive manner. I always keep a light hum to my voice in order to ensue fluidity through basic conversation for example some work discourse.

    Daniel Coyle in his book Culture Code, goes on to describe what belonging ques are and how to establish them in the workplace.

    For example I have a co worker named Buffa and most of the time he is not interested to take part in conversation that has to do with things outside of work. One day Tom, my other coworker, started joking about saying "Sir" in a french accent before each of our names at work. So then I said "Sir Buffae" as Buffa's name and I could hear his immediate laughter right after I exclaimed the joke. Then like clock work the rest of the day went by super dandy and stress free, of course mixed in with other belonging ques throughout the day.

    Another book I recommend you read is Laws of Human Nature by; Robert Greene. After reading this book my depression subsided tenfold and it taught me alot about how to diminish feelings of envy for the continuation of feelings for admiration. It also discusses things like showing vulnerability when we make mistakes and not to obsess over them.
     
  11. ladywolf2012

    ladywolf2012 Got diamonds in the soles of my shoes! Palladium Member Donating Member

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    I think I may have much to say on this topic--or maybe I won't--but tonight I am just going to start by scratching the surface. The issues of self-esteem and self-presentation are huge, and could easily merit yet another entire book on the topic. In a way. In another way, they barely merit any attention at all. Worry about self-esteem and how one is received by others can easily come to consume one's entire life, and lead one to become totally narcissistic to the point wherein he or she basically forgets about other people entirely, and becomes able to focus only upon themselves--thus, often making themselves extremely selfish and uninteresting to other people at all.

    Many of us, particularly in our younger years, assume that other people are spending a huge amount of time judging and reacting to us--when in fact, these same people are all caught up in their own affairs, and are often rarely thinking about us at all. Therefore, our attempts to get other people to react to us favorably may be falling on blind and deaf ears and eyes.

    Just one somewhat radical variation on the theme to consider. I will return later to elaborate and to elicit your responses and opinions as well, of course!
     
  12. BirdJungle

    BirdJungle Newbie

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    How you believe people perceive you, might have something to do with how you perceive other people. Are you overly critical of others? If so, that might tend to make you overly critical of yourself or fear that people are as critical about you as you are about them. Or do you feel less confident because you fear everyone is better than you in some way? Or is it a combination of both?

    I’m an introvert and feel both ways sometimes. It’s helpful to try to be positive about the people around you. Most people are actually nice and aren’t judging you. Also everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and levels of success. Some people will be stronger and more successful in the ways you want to be strong and successful. If you find yourself feeling bad because of that, try to turn your feelings around. Maybe you can learn something from that person or use that person’s success as inspiration. Also try to recognize your own strengths and successes, and the obstacles you have overcome to achieve those goals.

    As Calliope suggested, volunteer work is very beneficial for your own self esteem and for those you are helping.
     
  13. jazzyj9

    jazzyj9 Titanium Member Donating Member

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    The idea of volunteering is terrific. I just don’t have much energy after my job. Since I’ve been working as a nurse my energy level both mentally and physically has been much less than before I began as a nurse. But I’m gonna implement more exercise into my life to strengthen myself. Comparing myself less to others would be helpful.

    I tend to be "too nice" which I need to curtail. This people-pleasing tendency is a hindrance for me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  14. ladywolf2012

    ladywolf2012 Got diamonds in the soles of my shoes! Palladium Member Donating Member

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    Trying to "People-Please" can come from a variety of motives. The purest is when the person in question has genuine compassion for another person, and tries to help them--often succeeding--out of "other-serving" rather than self-serving motives. It often goes with no praise for heroism attached, with no one thanking the "pleaser" for the efforts put forth. If the pleaser can go on serving without the need for ridiculous amounts of positive feedback, then the efforts to please are genuine, and often the pleaser may sense an increased feeling of self-esteem, even if that wasn't the original motive for helping.

    One of the more reprehensible motives for "people pleasing" can be called "Giving to Get." An example of this might be as follows: a friend of the pleaser's is very ill and the pleaser offer to cook a wonderful home-cooked meal for the ill one. And they do, but underlying it all is a script that can run something like this: "Hmmph! When is the last time when you brought ME something home-cooked? Those awful fat-free muffins you made for Halloween? They were terrible--I tried a corner of one them, and then threw the rest of them away. So now you want another favor? When exactly do you plan to help ME out, and when?

    This form of "people-pleasing" involves keeping score, and does indeed demand positive acknowledgement for efforts put forth. Never mind that the one who needs help may be bedridden or wheelchair-bound. They are still expected to pay back the pleaser for the actions performed. This kind of "pleasing" can be downright scary, as the motives are so far from pure that they can become toxic. In this case, the people-pleaser usually has little to no natural self-esteem at all, and tries to build it by getting other people to acknowledge how wonderful they are.

    This effort usually backfires, as the 'pleaser' has no positive feelings of their own to fall back on, and other people can often easily recognize what the pleaser is really up to--how selfish their true motives are.

    There's also often an aspect of gaining power and control at work here too that can be especially ugly. A bedridden or wheelchair-bound person can be very vulnerable to having other people take charge of their lives, intentionally, or almost by accident. I can offer you a great contemporary example. Just a week ago, I had a total knee replacement surgery done. Most friggin' painful thing I could ever imagine. I can't drive, and I can't walk safely even with a walker.

    My boyfriend, who is a genuinely kind-hearted authentic "go out of this way to help" person probably garners part of his self-esteem from his acts of kindness because he does not expect a backhoe full of gratitude every time he brings me a box of Kleenex or something. But right now, his inner semi-secret MICRO-MANAGER has floated to the surface, and I fear that he is really getting off on all the power he has over me since I am pretty much totally disabled. I am being ordered around like I was a private in a Marine war platoon. If he is seeking positive feedback for this behavior of his, he can sure go do something very rude with it.

    So just about everything I have written about so far has to do with questing to confirm self-esteem by seeking love and approval from others outside of ourselves. This is indeed the most common means by which we look for self-esteem. But the truth is, it really does have to come from inside. Others will come and go, and their opinions can change radically almost every night anyway.

    And believe it or not, these people may be thinking about aspects of their lives other than YOU all the time anyway. For one thing, they are probably obsessed with wondering how they themselves came across at the same party where you saw them. Did they say the right things? Wear the right things? Make appropriate jokes-- and the right number of them? Did people LIKE them? How many people? :eek:

    I am old now, and I have finally, god-bless, reached the point wherein I basically don't give a shoot whether people like me or not. There have to be a few advantages to growing old--and many of my friends report the same thing. We've done our fancy dances on the stage, all dressed up, to try to make other people like us--but where has that ever gotten us anyway? Now we get to be old and crumbling and eccentric and our self-esteem is whatever we have taught it to be over the years. No one could do it for us--we had to do it for ourselves.

    I would even go so far as to say that self-esteem barely matters, but that's not really true. Right now, for example, I am having to struggle every day to make sure I don't fall or do something else stupid, and to protect myself from getting too badly hurt in physical therapy, and if I didn't have high self-esteem and a lot of medical knowledge and confidence in my ability to take care of myself, the medical establishment could be methodically destroying me right now, day after day. (They have already tried...)

    Well, that's plenty from me today. As a psychotherapist of many years standing, self-esteem was, of course, on of the most dominant issues on the coffee tables in my office. So I've had plenty of exposure to the topic. Wishing you all the best today, and take good care of yourself, because you can't really expect anyone else to do it for you. And then praise yourself for a job well done at the close of the day!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  15. jazzyj9

    jazzyj9 Titanium Member Donating Member

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    I’m not the type who wants to get a big payload from helping others but I think it’s more approval seeking behavior. It’s self worth stuff. I’m going to be starting weekly therapy at the end of March so I’m hopeful I can work through some of these things. I had a rough childhood that I need to work through some of the issues and move on. I like your attitude @ladywolf2012 good for you for not giving a shoot! I want to get there.
     
  16. ladywolf2012

    ladywolf2012 Got diamonds in the soles of my shoes! Palladium Member Donating Member

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    Jazzy, you will absolutely get there--I have total faith in you! For one thing, you have recognized the magnitude of the problem, confessed it to us, and asked for our help, admitting that you have a real issue. I am SO GLAD that you are starting therapy to work with this stuff and other issues very soon. Excellent idea!

    Challenging and painful childhoods can leave all of us who have experienced them devastated as we try to mature. It is often very difficult to work through healing abusive childhood programming alone--we need professionals who can see our genuine situations in an objective way that we just aren't capable of. We need to be working with someone as non-judgmental as possible, who truly has our best interests at heart. It can take a lot of time and patience to build a new kind of character, based around being someone who genuinely likes themselves.

    Do you have any close friends whose help you could enlist? (While maybe you could help them with one or more of their needs too?) One thing a friend can do is listen to you carefully, and "catch it" every time you start to dump on yourself, and help you to reframe what you are saying in different and positive terms.

    I have this kind of deal with a dear friend in Tucson. Every time I hear her starting to dump on herself, I have the right to intervene, point out what she is doing, and help her to reframe her words to make them work in a positive way. And she has the same right with me. We help each other a LOT with this stuff, and I have no doubt that you too can find that kind of help!

    Stay in touch with us and keep us posted, you marvelous creature, you!